Gender and Sexuality in Avarez' Daughter of Invention and Cofer's The Changeling

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Jackie Pappas
Professor Winchock
March 5, 2013
Paper #2 – Middle Draft
Gender & Sexuality
Our everyday lives are greatly affected by ones gender and sexuality. They shape who we are and define our identities. Society expects a certain gender to behave in a specific way and if this does not happen, one is seen as shameful and wrong, leaving the individual to feel defeated and out of place. In society only a few decades ago, women were meant to be silent and restricted. Men were the superior ones who had a voice. They freely got to do whatever they pleased. In Julia Avarez’ “Daughter of Invention and Judith Ortiz Cofer’s poem “The Changeling,” women were restricted of their true identities and their voices were silenced by the Ppallogocentric order.

As a female in society, one was not permitted to speak freely of her opinions because of men. She must remain silent. It is evident that the narrator, often referred to as Cukita, in “Daughter of Invention” cannot speak what she wants. She reads poems from a book her father bought her written by Walt Whitman. She reads his free words; words he can openly speak. These are words of “a flesh and blood man” (Alvarez 14). Because Walt Whitman was a man, he could speak and write what he so choose. However, when Cukita “plagiarizes” his words, because she was a woman, she was not “permitted” to read her work at the assembly for which she was writing. When she read her speech to her mother, her mother beamed with pride. It was quite the opposite when she read this speech to her father. He was shocked that his wife would let their daughter read the speech she wrote. “You will permit her to read that?” (Alvarez 15) Cukita’s father said as if she needed permission to speak what she believes. “As your father, I forbid you to say that eh-speech!” (Alvarez 15). Since he was a man, he had the final say in what his daughter said. He could say whatever he liked but his daughter, because she was a woman, could...
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